September 23, 2001

Barbados hotels could cut rates to boost tourism

                 BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (AP) -- The head of the hotel and tourism
                 association believes Barbadian hotels are going to have to cut rates by half if
                 they hope to attract visitors after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the
                 United States.

                 Allan Banfield, president of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, predicted
                 the number of tourists from Britain, who make up the majority of visitors, could
                 drop by at least 15 percent. Travel by Americans, who account for about 30
                 percent, may drop by at least 50 percent.

                 Leaders in the industry were meeting Sunday to discuss an emergency plan to deal
                 with the decline. Banfield said hotels must press utilities and suppliers for better
                 deals. Other officials said job cuts will be inevitable.

                 "Revenues are plummeting, and for us to be able to survive through this time we
                 have to be able to reduce our costs," Banfield said. "If tourism fails, the economy
                 of Barbados will fail. We are going to have to share this burden."

                 Prime Minis ter Owen Arthur has warned the country is "facing the prospect of an
                 economic catastrophe." His administration has been working to create a new
                 national economic plan.

                 In Jamaica, which also relies heavily on tourism, Prime Minister P.J. Patterson said
                 his government would announce measures later this week to deal with the
                 economic fallout.

                 "It's still too early to calculate the loss in terms of dollars and cents," Patterson said
                 Sunday at the annual conference for his People's National Party. "In tourism,
                 everyone from Air Jamaica to the taxi man and the craft vendor is going to suffer."

                 The chairman of Air Jamaica, Gordon "Butch" Stewart, estimated his company has
                 lost $11 million since the attacks.

                  Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.